By JOE GURINA
MERGING the Department of Rural Development and Implementation under the Finance Department will step up its functions.
This will see prudent audit systems of all districts and provincial financial acquittals.
The department’s acting secretary Aihi Vaki says that the inter-departmental marriage makes it possible to boost ORD’s performance unlike in the past which had the department (ORD) in the cold and struggled to keep update on its audit records of both the district and the provinces’ financial grants.
Finance and Rural Development Minister James Marape in his remarks at a welcome reception hosted by the staff of DIRD last week said he was happy that ORD has finally found shelter under the Finance Ministry.
“The role of DIRD will be stepped up and we will see an equal distribution of funds to all districts and provinces through the DSIP and PSIP funds and will compare the delivery on the grounds,” Mr Marape said.
“Last four years we’ve transferred K890 million to all the districts right across the country unfailingly, and that equates to K3.7 billion from the Waigani to the districts right across the country.
“Someone needs to tell the nation that these monies have been put to good use, and I think that is where the joint functions of Finance and DIRD come in.
“We cannot only sit back and receive acquittals, but we must get out there and confirm that the acquittals are in order, that there are correct acquittals made and that monies transferred from the Central Government to those sub-national governments are being put to good use.”
Mr Vaki thanked the government’s initiative especially the Prime Minister to have the department merge under Finance as way forward to improve its audit systems.
“The government has made the right decision to combine us together,” he said.
“We will work closely with the Finance Department to move the systems forward thus making sure to tighten our belts in maneuvering our systems and procedures when implementing them.”
He said this will boost them develop capacity in the districts which has been a problem experienced so far.
“We thank the government to give us a ministry and we will deliver effectively. “Thus it puts us in a better position to go down to the district level and work with them.”
Mr Vaki said there was a big decline of not receiving acquittal reports over the years however stressed that it was not the fault of the MPs but the administrators and public servants who were failing their leaders.
Mr Marape said starting next year, disbursement of funds will be strictly done on proper acquittals and audits. Acquittals will come in by March 31 every year from the districts under provisions of the Public Finance Management Act.